American aircraft manufacturer Boeing, was dragged into the ongoing case between Airbus and Qatar Airways in the London High Court. The airline has been ordered to give Airbus a draft of the MAX contract. Boeing objected on Friday to Airbus’ internal lawyers accessing data related to Qatar’s purchase of 737 MAX aircraft. Boeing’s lawyer Paul Stanley told the court:

“The disclosure of pricing information…that is dynamite,”

Earlier, Boeing insisted it had no intention of interfering in the prolonged court battle between its competitor and its client.

The dispute widened when Airbus confirmed on its monthly order data it had executed a rare cancellation, revoking Qatar’s remaining A350-1000 unfilled order. Qatar confirmed an order for 25 737 MAX 10s, with provisions for another 25, at the Farnborough Airshow in July. This is to replace an order for 50 A321neo (neo for “new engine option”) canceled by Airbus in a separate deal.

The Dispute

Qatar Airways and Airbus are in a bitter court battle over damage to the painted surface and anti-lightning system on A350 planes. Qatar claiming that safety is put in jeopardy. Although, Airbus, backed by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), admits to quality flaws, maintains that the jets are safe.

airbus-and-qatar-airways
Surface damage seen on Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350 parked at Qatar airways aircraft maintenance hangar in Doha, Qatar, June 20, 2022. © REUTERS

According to court documents, the Middle Eastern conglomerate is seeking $618 million in damages from Airbus over the premature deterioration of the surface of some of its A350s. Out of the 53 A350s in Qatar Airways’ fleet, the QCAA has grounded a total of 29 due to surface damage.

Both parties upped the bar again on Friday, accusing each other of being slow to release documents. They also seek that tens of millions of dollars in deposits to the airline and credit payments to the manufacturer be returned.

Will the trilateral litigation reach an amicable resolution soon? Share your valuable comments below.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated just 28 planes had been grounded and did not specify that the regulatory body QCAA was responsible for this decision. These changes have now been made.

1 Shares:
  • Logically this dispute will be resolved out of court but there is no logic in this case. The reality I believe is that Qatar wanted to delay delivery of A350’s during Covid and threatened Airbus, who refused to succumb, then a seemingly minor problem was escalated into a “serious “ safety issue to stop delivery and the manufacturer has called Qatar’s bluff. Logically if Qatar proceed in court they are unlikely to succeed but AlBaker does not seem likely to U turn, the real question is how can one unlock a situation where a manufacturer has been publicly said to be unsafe, and needs to exonerate themselves and the opposing management team don’t seem to have many moves left. Watch this entertaining space!!

  • Qatar Airways was launch customer for the A350. Airplanes always go through enhancements, weight loss etc. There are also the unknown faults that will be discovered and fixed. Although not entitled, QA may have reckoned on getting new replacement planes for their first builds if they escalated the paint/”safety” issue far enough. Now however its clear that’s not going to happen and in fact I don’t see how they can win a court case against Airbus, particularly if Airbus offered to put right any surface coating issues. There can be no safety concern that also couldn’t be put right or hundreds of other A350’s would be falling out of the sky by now (to mimic QA’s extremist criticism). All the rest of the issues and events are window dressing to make life more difficult for the other party. It comes down to the surface coating and even QA are still operating their other 28 A350’s so apart from re-surfacing what else can they possible achieve. At what cost? Rather bizarre if you ask me.

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